‘Flood defences saved Northampton from 1998 catastrophe’

Aerial photograph of Billing Aquadrome following floods.
Aerial photograph of Billing Aquadrome following floods.

Experts have revealed Northampton has seen the highest levels of rainfall to hit the town since the Easter floods of 1998.

Flood warnings across Northamptonshire have been lifted by experts this morning, with water levels in the River Nene beginning to recede.

However, the Environment Agency has today revealed the recent wet weather has been comparable to the huge outbreak of flooding 14 years ago, when thousands of homes were hit and two people died.

Norman Robinson, from the Environment Agency, said flood defences put in places in 1998 saved Northampton from a similar catastrophe.

He said: “During the last week we have experienced the highest rainfall totals and river levels since 1998 in Northamptonshire.

“Flood defence improvements built after 1998 have helped to protect several communities from flooding, including Weedon, Kislingbury, Northampton, Thrapston and Geddington.

“While our thoughts go out to those affected, especially those evacuated from Billing Aquadrome, Cogenhoe Mill and some isolated properties in the valley, all of our plans and flood defences have worked, protecting many hundreds of homes.

“We would like to thank all of our partners and emergency services for their help and action during this time. There are no longer any flood warnings in Northamptonshire but people should be aware that standing water will remain for many days to come. Please remain cautious and stay away from flood waters.”

He said the risks of widespread flooding is now “greatly reduced”, with “exceptionally high” river levels flowing out of the county.

Billing Aquadrome is due to reopen at 1pm today.

Assistant Chief Constable Andy Frost said: “While there are always lessons to learn from these types of incidents, the county has coped extremely well with the exceptionally high water levels we have seen since last Thursday.

“Our emergency plans have been tested and have worked, and all partners have worked well together to ensure that people remain safe and property is protected.

“We’d like to thank everyone in Northamptonshire for working with us to control this incident to the point where, hopefully, most people in the county have been unaffected.”